Great Missenden Parish Council furious with HS2 'community engagement'

HS2 groundworks in Great Missenden
HS2 groundworks in Great Missenden

Cancelled meetings, rejecting questions asked by residents and refusal to engage with residents over concerns... just what is going on with HS2 in Great Missenden?

Local Councillor Peter Martin has been left frustrated and angry with HS2 and their sub-contractor, Fusion, for their "refusal" to discuss residents concerns over their HS2 preparatory works in Great Missenden.

Great Missenden Councillor Peter Martin

Great Missenden Councillor Peter Martin

The Great Missenden Parish Council put together a series of concerns they have over HS2 preparatory works in the area. However four of the concerns raised in the agenda were responded to with a generic statement, saying HS2's plans will not change.

HS2 is currently in hot water over it’s community engagement in Buckinghamshire, and council leader Martin Tett has previously been very critical of the companies discussions with residents.

He wrote back in May: “The council has heard dismaying accounts of a lack of meaningful and effective engagement in some local areas which are highly impacted.”

And unfortunately in this case, it appears to be the same story.

Great Missenden is going to be heavily impacted by work on the HS2 rail line, and naturally the residents have concerns about how works will affect normal life, traffic and the impacts on the local environment.

Peter said: “We are growing increasingly frustrated with HS2 with their apparent inability to listen to our concerns.

“We’ve had numerous meetings with HS2 and fusion over mitigation, but they have been difficult.

“Our local residents have strong views, naturally, it’s where they live. They have argued for sensible road safety measures but they are just not listening to us.

"Our concerns were responded to with a generic one size fits all answer that suggested we just have to suck it up and accept what's on the table."

The residents decided to cancel the meeting until HS2 and Fusion decide to ‘take them seriously’.

Local representatives from Great Missenden Parish Council and Bucks County Council were set to meet with representatives from contractors Fusion, The Buckingham Group and HS2 last Thursday.

Peter added that Bucks Highways are the only people who have been genuinely listening to resident’s concerns, but are powerless to help.

“We feel we’re being denied a voice. It’s our home and we must fight for the best outcome.”

HS2 however said they were disappointing that Great Missenden Parish Council's decision to cancel the latest meeting.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said:

“We have met with Great Missenden Parish Council on several occasions, mainly to discuss the traffic management proposals that are necessary to construct HS2.

"As a result, and subject to approval, we have changed our proposed day work to evening work in order to alleviate traffic disruption.

"Following a previous meeting, we reviewed a series of actions, with significant work undertaken to assess which of them were deliverable, bearing in minded the advanced stage of the design process.

“It is disappointing the Parish Council chose to cancel the last meeting, and are ready to continue the discussions when it is rescheduled.”

Peter has written to both Dame Cheryl Gillan MP and David Lidington to share his concerns. HS2 have been approached for comment.